Conventional vs. "Natural" Medicine: It's All a Conspiracy!

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According to Kevin Trudeau, in Natural Cures "They" Don t Want You to Know About -- which has been America's best-selling advice book for some three months now -- the government, in the guise of the Federal Trade Commission and the Food and Drug Administration, is in cahoots with the drug industry and medical establishment to keep Americans sick and dependent on patented pharmaceuticals. Further, pork is poison, we should eat only organic and kosher meat, and tap water'll kill us all and is dangerous whether we drink it or bathe in it.

Trudeau asserts that "medical science has absolutely, 100 percent, failed in the curing and prevention of illness, sickness, and disease" (see p. 9). He supports this startling statement by claiming that, among other "facts," more people:

Get colds and flu than ever before;
Get cancer than ever before;
Have heart disease than ever before;
Have chronic fatigue than ever before;
Have bad skin, acne, and dandruff than ever before.

But Trudeau doesn't mention the more plausible explanations for these supposed facts -- for example, that our life expectancy has increased, so that the incidence of diseases related to aging (such as cancer and heart disease) would be expected to increase as well. Nor does he mention that, according to national statistics, the death rate for most types of cancer has been dropping over the last few decades, due to a combination of better screening, diagnosis, and treatment. Finally, just saying that "more" people suffer from this ill or that doesn't take into account that there are simply more people than ever before -- and that fact alone would mean that one might reasonably expect to find an increase in just about any disease not preventable by vaccination or treatable by antibiotics. Speaking of which, Mr. Trudeau doesn't give any credit to such triumphs of modern medicine. In fact, he claims that anyone who has ever been treated with antibiotics surely has a Candida (yeast) infection -- probably affecting the whole body.

The roots of virtually all illness, he contends, include one or more of the following: too many toxins in the body, nutritional deficiencies, electromagnetic "chaos" exposure, and mental and/or emotional stress. To become healthy, one must deal with whichever of these issues, or whichever combination, is the culprit -- one must "rebalance" the body. In effect, the author says, follow my lead and you will "get your body alkaline" -- whatever that means (see p. 427). To my knowledge, there's no way to test the whole body's acidity or alkalinity, since various body parts have different degrees of acidity -- the stomach is quite acid, the small intestinal contents more neutral, and the blood a slightly alkaline pH (the measure of acidity). The body pH has no real meaning.

The methodologies Trudeau encourages include an encyclopedic list of alternative medical practices -- ranging from high colonic enemas to removal of dental amalgam fillings -- the darlings of alternative medical practitioners.

Mr. Trudeau cites no authoritative sources for any of his statements, which is not to say there are no citations in the book. Indeed, he refers readers to a host of alternative medicine websites, most of which want to sell something [Editor's note: as Trudeau did before turning from selling cures to writing about them]. But then, Trudeau doesn't claim to have evidence that his suggested procedures work (other than testimonials and anecdotal stories). He gets around this little problem by saying that he BELIEVES (yes, in all caps) that those following his advice will get well and not get sick again. So he's not providing any authoritative advice -- he's just expressing his own beliefs. Could this be a way to avoid litigation when disgruntled and harmed readers want to come after him?

In sum, I BELIEVE this book is a great example of slick snake oil salesmanship. First, we're all being misled and lied to by the government and medical establishment. Second, they're withholding the "natural" remedies that could cure all ills. Third, Trudeau altruistically will show us the way (all you have to do is become a member of his website and subscribe to his newsletter).

What is truly amazing is how many folks must believe this stuff. I wonder if they'd be in the market for a bridge or two?

Ruth Kava, Ph.D., R.D., is Director of Nutrition for the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH.org, HealthFactsAndFears.com).